Piaggio UAS Prototype Crashes, Financial Picture Fuzzy

 - June 1, 2016, 3:45 PM

Further doubts over the viability of Italian aerospace company Piaggio Aerospace emerged this week after its €30 million ($33.5 million) drone prototype crashed into the sea off Trapani, Sicily, on Tuesday morning. The crash of its P.1HH Hammerhead UAS, which was confirmed by the Italian air force, did not cause casualties or damage to maritime craft, according to Italian news site Genova24.

Meanwhile, the company's overall financial health appears uncertain. Press reports late last week said the Genoa-based company’s negotiations with the Italian government for a financial rescue package were stalled. Speculation surfaced in April in Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Piaggio’s shareholder, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala Development, was considering selling its full stake in Piaggio. Italian firm Leonardo-Finmeccanica was identified as a potential buyer.

“The company, working with its various stakeholders, is taking a range of measures to address the current financial situation, including driving operational efficiency through the close monitoring of expenditure and focusing on activities with the greatest immediate commercial potential,” a Piaggio Aero spokesman told AIN. “Its industrial plan is currently being updated with the support of the financial advisor AlixPartners. The company and its shareholder will provide a further update once they are in a position to communicate a complete and clear roadmap.”

Mubadala did not respond to AIN’s request for comment.